Wigan thief’s shoplifting spree was to ‘feed himself’

A Wigan man stole more than £400 of goods from a shop to feed himself after his life hit rock bottom, a court heard.

Jason Fleming targeted the same B&M Bargains store on three separate occasions, helping himself to two vacuum cleaners, jars of coffee and a toaster, a haul totalling almost £415.

Shoplifting spree

Shoplifting spree

The 45-year-old, of Millers Lane in Platt Bridge, was apprehended after his third attempt and could easily have been jailed, having committed the thefts while on licence for another crime.

In a hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court, Fleming was spared jail after pleading guilty to three counts of theft from a shop.

The court heard how the spree began on February 26 when Fleming entered the store in Worthington Way, and escaped with a vacuum cleaner, a toaster and several jars of coffee, to the value of £234.92.

He returned the following day, successfully getting away with another vacuum cleaner, worth £179.99.

But Fleming’s luck ran out on March 1, when, returning to the scene of his crimes, he stocked up on £103.65 worth of coffee and bedding.

He was stopped by security, who retrieved the items and allowed him to leave, but his details were passed on to the police who later arrested and quizzed him about the thefts.

He told officers that he could not remember the first two shoplifting incidents due to his heroin use, and that he had stolen the items to fund this drug addiction.

However, Fleming’s defence solicitor Nick Woosey told the bench that his client had stolen to feed himself after hitting “rock bottom”.

He had split from his partner upon his recent release from prison for another offence, and subsequently lost his benefits and accommodation.

“He has hit rock bottom, he has lost everything” Mr Woosey said.

“His first words to me, without being prompted, were ‘this has to stop.’

“He knows if he continues this lifestyle, his life is going nowhere fast.”

Mr Woosey also urged the bench not to send Fleming back to prison, amid fears it could lead to “a revolving door of custody.”

A member of the mental health services told the bench how Fleming had been engaging with their services, and was being supported with a housing application.

The court heeded Mr Woosey’s plea, handing Fleming a 10-week curfew from 7pm to 7am. He must also pay £414.93 compensation to B&M and a victim surcharge of £85.